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Questions tagged [gm-techniques]

The practical arts and methods applied to gamemastering.

4
votes
1answer
132 views

How much should be revealed to the players when rolling gifts of the gods?

Beginning on the page 290 of black crusade core rulebook is explained the gifts of the gods generation. Whenever a player reaches a certain corruption threshold, how much should be revelead about the ...
2
votes
0answers
56 views

What's the limit of GM forcing things for the players' enjoyment? [duplicate]

We all know the dice's outcomes may be unpleasant, expecially in the case of story events, when players may feel that they had no control on something except rolling the dice higher. Should the ...
1
vote
1answer
410 views

How do I deal with a random event that upset my players? [closed]

We are playing "Rise of the Runelords", and something happened that made all the players quite upset, and gave a bitter ending to an otherwise great session. WARNING: Spoilers on Rise of the ...
1
vote
3answers
262 views

How would you communicate with a player attacking his own teammates while disguised without the other players finding out it's him?

I've heard of players killing their comrades while asleep or stuff like that, which can be handled by the master with some planning with the player. But how would you handle a situation in which a ...
28
votes
4answers
3k views

How do I telegraph that an encounter that was too difficult before is now achievable?

Assuming you used the techniques from How can DMs effectively telegraph specific dangers in D&D? and How can I make my PCs flee? to telegraph danger and the need to improve the characters skills/...
33
votes
7answers
5k views

As a new GM how do I figure out rules quickly?

I tried my hand at GMing for the first time recently and my biggest challenge was figuring out rules on the fly. I frequently found players wanted to do things that I didn't know the rules for, ...
8
votes
2answers
291 views

Pacing GM Intrusions

How should GM intrusions be paced throughout a Numenera game? My players are currently finishing up the Shadewalker adventure. Each PC can earn up to 4 XP based on what they accomplish in the ...
11
votes
3answers
636 views

As a DM, do you have the authority to fudge the rules?

As a general rule, I try not to fudge the rules unless it hurts my players' fun not to do so. In the final encounter of my last scenario, an NPC I had written as a hook into the next adventure was ...
7
votes
3answers
283 views

Scaling encounter difficulties in Rolemaster

Rolemaster is by it's very nature a rather deadly rule system, up to the point where there are even some passages in the rule books mentioning this - alongside some advice for players to not neglect ...
11
votes
3answers
983 views

How to track persistent area effects with TotM?

My group is trying theater of the mind (TotM) battles instead of using a mat with miniatures. A challenge we're having is when someone casts a spell like entangle, which affects a location. On a map, ...
6
votes
2answers
341 views

Tips and techniques for running larger-scale battles in interesting and engaging ways?

So, my players threw me for a loop last weekend when they decided to go a little off-script at the end of our session. Normally I’m pretty good at rolling with changes, but this one has me a little ...
6
votes
2answers
401 views

How can I maximize player involvement with the environment without affecting player's abilities?

Tomb of Annihilation has a I want to capitalize on the rich environment of the campaign, encouraging survival skills, exploration, and experimentation, but I want to do so without affecting PC's ...
14
votes
6answers
8k views

Player vs. Player Fight

I'm a fairly new DM and am trying to plan my own story, I'm having trouble envisioning an important part however. I have the group getting separated and eventually meeting up. Before they realize it'...
3
votes
2answers
281 views

Handling Slightly Unpredictable Situations [closed]

So it was my first time DMing for experienced players and were playing through The Sunless Citadel. Most of what happened happened accordingly to the book expect dialogue, which I was expecting. What ...
20
votes
2answers
4k views

How does an NPC guess where an invisible PC is when attacking?

How does the DM have an NPC guess where to attack me if my PC is invisible, since the DM always already knows? Unseen Attackers and Targets says: When you attack a target that you can't see, you ...
8
votes
3answers
474 views

How do I make information that I give my players “accidental”?

I like the idea that the players of my campaign are meddlers. Creatures who have came upon knowledge only by accident or putting their noses where those noses don't belong. The idea that the ...
11
votes
3answers
846 views

Overcoming language barriers in Starfinder

Since Starfinder has been released I've been interested in using it as a system for an exploratory kind of campaign. Imagine West Marches meets Star Trek. There's a lot I and the people I'm playing ...
16
votes
2answers
3k views

How to handle PCs casually shopping in the market [closed]

Let's say that PCs are wandering the city market, looking for interesting items to buy. The DM has prepared a list of useful items that can be noticed with a successful combination of ability checks + ...
19
votes
9answers
8k views

How to balance a “murder hobo” party with fair punishment [duplicate]

The events depicted in this question happened many months ago and that campaign is now over. While there is no fixing what I did, I want to move forward and learn from what I am pretty sure is a ...
27
votes
5answers
6k views

How to handle a group that questions every decision I make as DM

I am new to DMing. In fact, my whole group is new to D&D as a whole. The one struggle I seem to be facing (besides the fact that I have to look almost every thing up) is that 2 of my 5 players are ...
5
votes
1answer
264 views

How do I get an idea of the number of rounds encounters are expected to take? [duplicate]

In a campaign I am starting I want to make use of an encounter where the players could lose a device that will make it easier for them to pass a puzzle later on. The idea is the following: In order ...
15
votes
8answers
3k views

How to give players additional information from a journal?

How would you convey information contain in a journal to the players? For example, if the players were to come across the journal of a wealthy NPC which, as DM, you want to be relevant to the current ...
23
votes
2answers
1k views

How to handle Seer spells so they don't either waste time or make playing tedious?

Some of the fantasy magic systems we are/were playing provide spell casters with access to spells that provide the player with information about future events. Now, we know from many movies and ...
24
votes
10answers
1k views

How can I balance gradual character advancement for new players vs. trying to keep the PCs at a similar level?

I've been running an Open Table game this summer and it's going pretty well. I normally favor milestone leveling or other forms of keeping all PCs at the same level so I don't have to deal with level ...
10
votes
3answers
1k views

Handing out XP per encounter is overwhelming; solutions?

TL;DR: I'm looking for a technique for handing out XP during sessions that is both rewarding for the players and easy to handle as the GM. Doesn't have to be RAW; personal experience is welcome. I ...
0
votes
0answers
52 views

How do I calculate the difficulty of a multi-sided encounter? [duplicate]

From looking through the DMG for encounter building (p. 81-85), it seems clear to me that the rules for how to calculate encounter difficulty assume that there are only two sides in an encounter: PCs ...
10
votes
5answers
2k views

How to improve pace of my sessions?

I'm running a campaign for about two years (around one session a month) and I'm unhappy with the pace of events. In those two years we covered not even two months of game time with single session ...
1
vote
0answers
173 views

How to have my PCs uncover a mole in the city guard [closed]

So I want to create a situation for the players where they have to figure out who, within the city guard, is secretly working for a certain necromancy cult based in the local swamp. I was initially ...
1
vote
4answers
441 views

How can I encourage my players to use unlimited freedom? [closed]

I'm trying to make rules/game so that players have as much freedom possible. My intention is to concentrate on role-playing, where stats are not that important and the new system I'm building will ...
8
votes
3answers
663 views

How can I advance time without presuming player action?

In Dungeon World, there is the move: Bolster When you spend your leisure time in study, meditation, or hard practice, you gain preparation. If you prepare for a week or more, take 1 ...
6
votes
3answers
386 views

How to make an ill-assorted group work together

I'm running a Dark Heresy V2 campaign and am up to four sessions. The characters are: a former trade-princess now seeking revenge for the Inquisitor who raided her family (because of shady ...
2
votes
3answers
1k views

How should I request a PC sacrifice for the best ending to a campaign? [closed]

The scenario: The BBEG is preparing to unleash a sealed monster and devastate the civilized world. The seal has already been weakened by prior actions. The PCs engage the BBEG as the campaign finale. ...
1
vote
0answers
208 views

How to make a hyperbolic game board with octagonal tiles? [closed]

I'm currently thinking about making a campaign that will feature the far realms, and I've been reading a lot of Lovecraft. To get across the idea of alien geometries, I was considering using some sort ...
0
votes
0answers
100 views

What are some good roll tables for a DM screen? [duplicate]

I made myself a low-budget DM screen out of cardboard, but it doesn't have any tables or information. Does anybody know any essential tables for it? If so, can you share the link with me? I already ...
3
votes
3answers
917 views

How can a 'Session 0' successfully align campaign participants' expectations? [closed]

Many GMs - myself included - like to begin a campaign with a "Session 0": a session where the ground rules of the campaign are laid out plainly before any actual play begins. Some topics of discussion ...
3
votes
1answer
427 views

How do I handle an omnipotent NPC as a DM? [closed]

I'm roleplaying for more than half my life now, mainly as a player, DMing only a few one shoots. My regular group and I are playing a D&D 5E campaign that will soon come to an end, and our DM is ...
13
votes
1answer
9k views

How do people get their players from level 1 to 2 in ~6 encounters?

I'm planning my first adventure, and I'm confused by the guidelines for creating encounters. Everything I've read says it should take around 6 encounters for the players to go from level 1 to 2, ...
14
votes
8answers
5k views

How do I incentivize my players to fight and upgrade their weapons/armors?

I recently started to make my own homebrewed RPG which is based off Pathfinder with the Monster Hunter games' mechanics. One of the mechanics I tried to add is the idea to farm monsters for materials ...
4
votes
1answer
265 views

How can I avoid metagaming and conflicting narratives when presenting parallel stories to the same players?

If you are one of my Players: "Sam, Harlan, Simon or Matt" please do not ready this. I am having the plan to run a side campaign in my World Custom 4e D&D game (Basically skins to replace the ...
22
votes
6answers
3k views

What can I do as a new DM, when my players know more about the game mechanics than me?

I'm planning to start a campaign with all my friends, who are frequent Dnd players. I've been in a couple of their campaigns before, and had fun of course, but never REALLY understood much of the ...
31
votes
10answers
19k views

One PC is too powerful. What should I do?

I am currently playing DnD 3.5 with three friends of mine. I am Game Master and I let my players create 4th level characters in the beginning of the campaign. One of them chose Forsaker as his ...
66
votes
13answers
14k views

Dealing with PC that constantly lies to NPCs

I have a player playing a rogue in her first RPG, and she is constantly lying to NPCs. She says it is one of her character flaws and I like that she is playing the character to the fullest, but she ...
5
votes
1answer
429 views

How can I arbitrate freeform RP in a manner more biased towards inarticulateness?

A friend of mine made a shortish Pokemon RPG module for one-on-one play. The module turned out incredibly well and everyone in our extended RPG group has now played it (and each time the supplemental ...
3
votes
1answer
666 views

LMoP: what are some tips for replaying the Redbrand Hideout? [closed]

[Spoilers, Lost Mine of Phandelver, D&D 5e] I'm DMing. In spite of searching fruitlessly for examples of rerunning a map, I have found nothing, especially when it comes to the Lost Mine. What ...
9
votes
7answers
576 views

As a GM, should I nudge my players towards specific actions? [closed]

As a GM, I sometimes will encourage my players towards specific actions. Example (This didn't actually happen, but similar things have): The party finds a Cube of Force, but this one rearranges what ...
48
votes
12answers
16k views

What to do with players who have done something very stupid, but unwittingly?

I'm starting a new campaign. All fresh players. In the first session I gave them a very shoddy, small barge, which I planned to have them trade for a ox-drawn carriage, as the ship itself didn't have ...
4
votes
1answer
254 views

How to involve the players in a fight between 2 Dragons [duplicate]

My players have wound up bringing an ancient silver dragon to defend a town being attacked by a young red dragon. Of course the ancient silver dragon would beat the young red dragon solo, unless I'm ...
27
votes
7answers
6k views

How do I avoid micromanaging character creation?

What aspects of character generation should the DM limit? I'm a new DM starting a new campaign with 6 players that have no previous Dungeons and Dragons experience. I've played before; they haven't. ...
10
votes
1answer
397 views

How can I help inexperienced LARP crew to speak confidently?

I've been crewing as part of a particular LARP system for a while now. The roles I play are almost invariably handed to me. I'll frequently have a short brief and 5 minutes of prep before it's ...
1
vote
0answers
148 views

Rate your GM: Evaluation Method & Questionnaire for Players [closed]

I've concluded this year's campaign, and I would like to collect feedback from my players (5 constant plus 5 more on/off) about my performance as a GM. I didn't find any relevant QAs in RPG.SE ...